- Pierluigi Paganini: what is known about the case of the alleged hacking of Jeff Bezos' phone
- UN calls for 'immediate investigation' into hacking Jeff Bezos smartphone
- "The Guardian": Bezos phone hacked after message from Saudi prince
ShareBy Celia Guimaraes January 23, 2020 Two United Nations human rights experts ask Washington to investigate the Saudi suspects hacking into the personal smartphone of Jeff Bezos , founder of Amazon and owner of the Washington Post. But forensic investigations apparently provide incomplete data, which raises questions about what has become real international intrigue.
"It should be said at once that despite the discussion of the compromise of Bezos's phone, according to some media that have viewed the report drawn up following the investigation, it seems that no malware has been found," engineer Pierluigi Paganini, an expert on cybersecurity and Enisa (European Union Agency for Network and Information Security) consultant.
Experts, Vice points out, try to understand who may have helped Saudi Arabia hack the phone of the richest man on Earth:
Experts are debating who helped Saudi Arabia hack the phone of the richest man on Earth. https://t.co/rD3VMHYtWe- VICE (@VICE) January 22, 2020
Paganini observes: "According to a report obtained from Motherboard, only a suspicious video file was identified and the original message that would have given rise to the inoculation of spyware. According to the investigation, conducted on the phone, following the reception of the video the outgoing traffic of the phone would have increased abnormally, a circumstance that would suggest that large amounts of data have been exfiltrated (stolen, extracted). "
The man of trust
The conditional is a must, adds the expert: "Without analyzing the malicious code it is impossible to determine its functionality and above all to attribute the attack to a specific actor. Again according to the report, the phone may have been compromised with a software provided to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman from Saud al Qahtani, known for providing offensive hacking tools to the Saudi regime, including surveillance software developed by the Italian company Hacking Team. " We talked about the Hacking Team case, which suffered a cyber attack in July 2015.
Abuse of espionage media
The issue also concerns the buying and selling of this type of malware; "The case reopens the discussion about the possible abuses of surveillance software sold to totalitarian regimes, in violation of international standards. These software should be used exclusively by intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies to combat crime and terrorism, and instead the news shows us how they are used to prosecute opponents of regimes around the world ".
The Italian panorama
According to Paganini, also in Italy, "numerous companies develop surveillance software, such as Hacking Team, Negg and Area and it is crucial that the government monitor their work and the export of these software. The compatriot Giulio Regeni may have been spied on precisely through a software produced by an Italian company and sold to the Egyptian government ". It is therefore essential, concludes the Italian expert, "to monitor the entire supply chain in the supply of surveillance software, suspicious hand-over could cause these spyware to get into the wrong hands."
Suspicions about the Israeli Nso, which denies any involvement
According to the report on the investigations released by the UN special rapporteurs Agnes Callamard and David Kaye, the Israeli company Nso, already called in the past for other hacker attacks on WhatsApp, may be involved in the hacking operation, which took place in May 2018 several media would have been created by the cyber division of the Israeli army.
There is a "reasonable belief" that Bezos' phone behavior is related to spyware Pegasus, sold to the Saudis by the Israeli Nso. Spyware is software that collects information regarding a user's online activity without his consent.
But Israeli society denies any involvement and, as reported by Ynet, says: "We haven't entered Bezos's phone" and, in a note, they say: "The company is shocked and shocked by the hacking report by Mr Bezos. If true, a full investigation of all entities providing these services is needed to ensure that their systems have not been misused. As we said when these stories surfaced a few months ago, we can unequivocally claim that our technology is not used in this case. "
Jeff Bezos, meanwhile
Bezos' cell phone, Amazon owner and publisher of the Washington Post, was allegedly hacked in May 2018 after receiving a WhatsApp message apparently
sent from the personal account of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohamed bin Salman. Five months before the journalist Jamal Kashoggi entered the diplomatic office of Riad in Istanbul on October 2, in order not to leave it alive anymore. Bezos has a Twitter account that he uses sparingly, but following the spy story that involves him, he published this photo, with the caption that simply reads #Jamal :.
#Jamal pic.twitter.com/8ej1rUBXVb- Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) January 22, 2020